KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesian terrorist Hambali can now speak English and even taught himself Arabic after his arrest 18 years ago.
His lawyer Jim Hodes said Hambali and his two partners imprisoned with him, Mohammed Nazir Lep and Mohammed Farik Amin, were only allowed a strictly controlled call four times a year, lasting 15 minutes each.
“We, as their lawyers, are not allowed to speak to them over the phone and can only access them by going to Guantanamo in a long and convoluted and heavily controlled manner,” Hodes said.
Hambali, 57, enjoys watching shows like Planet Life and Blue Planet on DVD, according to a report.
In 2010, Mstar – The Star’s Bahasa Malaysia news portal – obtained a photo of Hambali from his brother Kankan Abdul Qadir, who lives in Cianjur, West Java, Indonesia.
The photo was given to the family with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He pointed to a frail, bearded Hambali, reading a book.
Hambali’s wife Sabahan Noralwizah Lee Abdullah @ Lee Yin Len, a Chinese convert, is reportedly staying with the family.
She was arrested along with Hambali in the central city of Ayutthaya, Thailand, in 2003.
After her release from a two-year detention under the Homeland Security Act, she remained in Beluran district on the east coast of Sabah.
It was reported that his sister Noral Fadilah @ Lee Ah Lin was married to Abu Yusuf @ Dandang Surman, another terrorist.
Abu, who was born in West Java, Indonesia, and is believed to be a permanent resident of Malaysia, stayed in Afghanistan for five months, according to a 2003 report from the International Crisis Center on Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
Noralwizah and Hambali met at the Luqmanul Hakiem School in Ulu Tiram, Johor, which was founded by two Indonesian JI members, Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Bashir.
Abdullah died in 1993 while Abu Bakar, 82, was released from Indonesian prison last January after his 15-year sentence was reduced for good behavior.
Hambali’s 2010 photo was probably the last photo the world saw until his new photo was released recently by his lawyers.
He was the second in a family of 13 children of a rice farmer in the small village of Sukamanah, where he became involved in radical activities as a teenager.
In fact, he traveled to Afghanistan in 1983 to fight the Soviet Union, where he received weapons training. It was reported that between 1987 and 1990 he met the late Osama bin Laden.
It was also reported that Hambali even allegedly called Mohamed Jamal Khalifa, a brother-in-law of Osama. The two may have met in Afghanistan during the war. Jamal, who was accused of financing terrorist plots, was killed in Madagascar in 2007.
âMy client (Hambali) was detained in 2003. He was isolated and tortured by the US government for the next three years.
âHe was then held in solitary confinement for the next 10 years. His living conditions are now better than when he was tortured and held in solitary confinement, âHodes said.
He claimed that “I don’t believe that anyone in the US government really thinks my client poses a threat to anyone, let alone anyone in the US”, but Hambali’s jailers reportedly claimed that ‘ “He used the daily prayers led to promote violent jihad among fellow inmates.”
“He also uses his language lessons and his status as a teacher to exert undue influence on others,” it was reported.
Hodes said he looks forward to having contacts with Indonesian and Malaysian authorities to discuss this and other issues in the future.
Mohd Farik, 46, an engineer born in Kajang, is also a cousin of famous Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir @ Marwan, who was killed by the Philippine army.
He was a leader of Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia, which was linked to JI and listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List.
Johorean Mohd Nazir, 45, an architecture graduate, is described as a “valuable inmate” and “Hambali’s lieutenant”.
In an interview with the New Straits Times in 2016, his brother Zahbah Lep said Nazir began to turn to Islamic politics at the age of 16 and studied at Politeknik Sultan Abdul Halim with Farik when he started. to join the JI and Tarekat groups.
âI was shocked when I was shown a photo of him wearing a fatigues fight with Osama bin Laden in the desert. I just couldn’t believe he was able to do this,â said Zahbah in the report about the photo shown to him by the officers of the special branch.
It was reported that he joined the Territorial Army to learn military skills before heading to Afghanistan, where he also met Osama.
The United States has admitted that arrested terrorists were tortured and the existence of secret CIA interrogation centers abroad known as black sites (even in Morocco and Romania) where Hambali was allegedly interrogated .
Time magazine claimed in 2003 that all three were also interviewed on the remote Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, a US military base.
Hambali was allegedly subjected to nearly three years of solitary confinement, interrogation and torture, according to a Reuters report in 2014.
More details on these methods of detention and interrogation can be found online in a 2014 report of the Special Senate Committee on Intelligence.